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The Right Time To Go Solar Is Now. Essex Solar Panel Installers.


Solar panels are devices that capture the sun’s energy and convert it into electricity that you can use in your home. They are a form of renewable energy, which means they do not rely on fossil fuels or emit greenhouse gases that contribute to climate change. Solar panels can help you save money on your electricity bills, reduce your carbon footprint, and even earn some income by selling excess electricity back to the grid. In this article, we will explore the positives and benefits of installing solar panels in your home in the UK, and how you can access various incentives and schemes to make it more affordable and rewarding.

How Do Solar Panels Work?

Solar panels are made up of many photovoltaic (PV) cells, which are usually arranged in modules or arrays on your roof or in your garden. PV cells are composed of two layers of silicon, a semiconductor material that can generate electricity when exposed to light. When sunlight hits the PV cells, it knocks electrons loose from the silicon atoms, creating an electric current. This current is then collected by metal contacts on the surface of the cells and transferred to an inverter, which converts the direct current (DC) into alternating current (AC) that can power your appliances and devices. The amount of electricity that solar panels can produce depends on several factors, such as:

  • The size and efficiency of the system: Larger and more efficient systems can generate more electricity per unit area.

  • The orientation and tilt angle of the panels: South-facing panels with a tilt angle of 30 degrees can achieve the maximum power output in the UK.

  • The location and weather conditions: The amount of sunlight and cloud cover can affect the intensity and duration of solar radiation.

  • The season and time of day: Solar panels produce more electricity in summer than in winter, and more during midday than in the morning or evening.

According to the Energy Saving Trust, a typical 4 kWp system (which consists of around 12 solar panels) can generate about 3,750 kWh of electricity per year in the UK. This is equivalent to about 70% of the annual electricity consumption of a medium-sized household.

What Are the Benefits of Solar Panels?

Some of the main benefits of solar panels are:

They can help you save money on your electricity bills by generating your own clean and renewable energy. Depending on how much electricity you use and how much you export to the grid, you can reduce your energy bills by up to 50%. You can also receive payments for the surplus electricity you generate through the Smart Export Guarantee (SEG) scheme, which is offered by most energy suppliers.

They can help you reduce your carbon footprint and environmental impact by avoiding the use of fossil fuels that emit greenhouse gases and contribute to climate change. The average residential solar panel system in the UK saves 0.7 tonnes of carbon dioxide each year. Solar panels also have a long lifespan of more than 25 years, making them a good long-term investment.

They can increase the value and attractiveness of your property by making it more energy-efficient and sustainable. According to a study by the Energy Saving Trust, installing solar panels can add up to 14% to the value of your home in some areas. Solar panels can also enhance the appearance of your roof, especially if you opt for solar roof tiles that blend in with the existing tiles.

These are some of the main advantages of solar panels, but there are also some disadvantages and challenges that you should be aware of before deciding to install them.

Some of these are:

The initial cost of installing solar panels can be high, depending on the size and quality of the system. The average cost of a 4kW solar panel system in the UK is around £6,000, but it can vary depending on the installer, location, and type of panels. You may be able to find grants or loans to help you finance your installation, but they are not widely available.

The amount of electricity you generate from solar panels depends on several factors, such as the weather, season, time of day, orientation, and shading of your roof. Solar panels work best in sunny and clear conditions, but they can still produce some electricity in cloudy or rainy weather. However, you may need to rely on the grid or a battery storage system to meet your electricity demand at night or during winter.

The maintenance and repair of solar panels can be costly and complicated, especially if they get damaged by extreme weather, vandalism, or accidents. You will need to clean your panels regularly to remove dust and dirt that can reduce their efficiency. You will also need to check for any cracks, leaks, or faults that may affect their performance or safety. You may have to pay for a professional service or warranty to cover these costs.

These are some of the pros and cons of solar panels that you should consider before going green with your energy. Solar panels can offer many benefits for your home, your wallet, and the environment, but they also come with some challenges and costs that you should be prepared for.

Installing solar panels in your home can bring you many benefits, both financially and environmentally. Here are some of the main advantages of solar panels:

Save Money on Your Electricity Bills

One of the most obvious benefits of solar panels is that they can help you reduce your electricity bills by generating your own free and clean energy. The amount of money you can save depends on how much electricity you use, how much you generate, and how much you export to the grid. According to the Energy Saving Trust, a typical 4 kWp system can save you up to £270 per year on your electricity bills if you are at home all day. If you are out all day until 4 pm, you can still save up to £170 per year. These savings are based on an average electricity price of 18p per kWh, which is likely to increase in the future due to rising energy costs.

Reduce Your Carbon Footprint

Another benefit of solar panels is that they can help you reduce your carbon footprint by generating renewable electricity that does not emit any greenhouse gases or pollutants. By switching to solar energy, you can avoid using fossil fuels that contribute to global warming and environmental degradation. According to the Energy Saving Trust, a typical 4 kWp system can save up to 1.2 tonnes of carbon dioxide per year, which is equivalent to planting 60 trees.

Receive Payments for Extra Energy You Generate

In addition to saving money on your electricity bills, you can also earn some income by selling any excess electricity that you generate but do not use back to the grid. This is possible through the Smart Export Guarantee (SEG) scheme, which was introduced in January 2020 as a replacement for the Feed-in Tariff (FIT) scheme that ended in March 2019. The SEG scheme requires licensed electricity suppliers with more than 150,000 customers to offer tariffs for exported electricity from small-scale renewable generators, such as solar panels. The tariffs vary depending on the supplier, but they must be above zero at all times. According to Which?, some of the best SEG tariffs as of October 2022 are:

  • Octopus Energy: 5.5p per kWh for its Outgoing Fixed tariff or Agile Octopus tariff

  • Social Energy: 5.6p per kWh for its Smart Export Guarantee tariff

  • E.ON: 5p per kWh for its Fix & Export Exclusive v2 tariff

  • Bulb: 3.8p per kWh for its Export Payments tariff

To be eligible for the SEG scheme, you need to have a solar panel system with a capacity of up to 5 MW, and a smart meter that can measure your export data. You can switch between different SEG suppliers to find the best deal for you, without affecting your electricity supply contract. According to Which?, a typical 4 kWp system can earn up to £150 per year from the SEG scheme, based on an average export rate of 50%.

How Much Do Solar Panels Cost in the UK?

The cost of solar panels in the UK can vary depending on several factors, such as the size and efficiency of the system, the type and quality of the panels, the complexity of the installation, and the location of your property. However, according to Solar Guide, the average cost of a solar panel system in the UK in 2023 is as follows:

System Size

Price Range

Number of Panels

Roof Space

Annual Electricity Generation

3 kW

£5,000 - £6,000


22 m²

2,550 kWh

4 kW

£6,000 - £8,500


29 m²

3,750 kWh

5 kW

£8,500 - £9,500


32 m²

4,250 kWh

6 kW

£9,000 - £11,500


43 m²

5,100 kWh

These estimates are approximate and can vary depending on your specific circumstances. To get a more accurate quote for your solar panel installation, you can use our free service to compare up to four quotes from different local installers. Just fill in our quick form and we will match you with the best deal for your needs.

How Can You Access Solar Panel Grants and Incentives in the UK?

Installing solar panels in your home can be a worthwhile investment, but it can also be a significant upfront cost. Fortunately, there are various grants and incentives available in the UK to help you make it more affordable and rewarding. Here are some of the main schemes that you can access:

ECO4 Scheme

The ECO4 scheme is a government initiative that provides funding for energy efficiency improvements in low-income households and those living in fuel poverty. The scheme runs from April 2022 to March 2026 and has a budget of £4 billion. The ECO4 scheme covers various types of improvements, including insulation, heating systems, and renewable energy sources such as solar panels and heat pumps. The scheme is delivered by obligated energy suppliers, who are required to meet certain targets for reducing carbon emissions and improving energy efficiency. The eligibility criteria for the ECO4 scheme are based on three main factors:

  • Your income: You may qualify for the scheme if you receive certain benefits, such as Universal Credit, Pension Credit, or Tax Credits.

  • Your property: You may qualify for the scheme if your property has a low energy performance rating (EPC), which indicates that it is poorly insulated or inefficiently heated.

  • Your location: You may qualify for the scheme if you live in an area that is designated as low-income or fuel-poor by your local authority.

To find out if you are eligible for the ECO4 scheme and what improvements you can get, you can contact your energy supplier or use the Simple Energy Advice website to get personalised advice.

Zero VAT on Solar Panels

In its Spring Statement in March 2022, the UK government announced that it will introduce a zero rate of VAT for installing energy-saving materials in residential accommodation until March 2027. This means that you will not have to pay any VAT on solar panels or other renewable energy sources that you install in your home during this period.

NOTE: Facts and figures are for general information only and may not be current. You should consult your local authority and a solar panel professional before making any financial decision.

Get free advice and a free quote from the top solar panel installers in Essex.


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